All the post-match reactions.
It's really weird because there was a good chance of enjoying ourselves tonight. Benfica had the pressure, and we wanted to play. But we offered nothing, there was no movement, when Hugo had the ball, we didn’t propose anything. We were completely asphyxiated by their closing down, we were lifeless. It's a shame because we were in a favorable context in the European Cup. I wanted to have fun tonight, it was not the case. We were naive because a draw would have been enough, and we were surprised. They used up a lot of energy in the first half. And in the second period, we reacted in our behavior and effort. We showed we had pride. And even if we weren’t scoring goals, we had to show our supporters that we still had our desire intact. In terms of quality of play, it was poor, and that's unfortunate. I think we need to be more ambitious in our play and not be afraid to go forward. The coach told us about the goal difference, told us to react. It’s important, as we limited the damage as far as the score line is concerned.
This is disappointing because we came here to qualify definitively. It's a mixed result, as we responded well, catching up on the direct goal difference. But it was tough. It is important to recognize when there are shortcomings. Players will benefit from this disappointing performance I think. At halftime, Claude put the players in front of their responsibilities. The objective was to score goals against this Benfica side. The defeat was inevitable, but we had to score again for the goal average. Schalke's draw is a positive result for us. The next match can already offer us the qualification. Returning to the game, we must not hide our shortcomings, but do not forget that putting three goals past Benfica in Lisbon is not easy.
The four goals that we conceded were gifts, two on counter attacks and two from set pieces. It is a blow to morale, but the coach told us that as far as goal average is concerned it was a good operation. After that, Schalke failed to take the three points. Benfica are a team that loves to play, they put in a great deal of closing down in the midfield. We badly dealt with a number of counter attacks. But we should remember what was positive. Personally I am not at one hundred percent of my ability, but it will come back with matches. Dejan for his part put away a very important third important goal, it will do him good in the head.
I retain that we did not let our heads drop in the second half. We knew it, direct goal average is very important. The substitutes played well, especially Jean II, who could not start, and Alex Lacazette. Afterwards, it’s a pity because we started the game well with two refused goals, then they went and scored four goals. It is important that we pulled ourselves back. I chose Dejan for his heading ability. He did his job as best as possible, I do not think he is the cause of our poor first half. The result of Schalke in Tel Aviv gives us more flexibility, but there are still points to be taken. We must not lose in Germany.
Personally I came on and played in two assists. It's too bad we lost that game, but on goal difference, our comeback may be decisive. After, the Champions League is a big change from the Ligue 1. We hardly knew whether to attack or stay behind at one point with Bafé. I hope it will continue like that for me.
Before the reaction, when we conceded four, we were naive. It is a miracle, but we must remember that the guys who have returned brought a lot to the performance, including Lacazette and Makoun. But what passivity in the first period. And then when you see the kilometres ran by both teams, we were just four behind Benfica. There were some worrying things, it's a miracle to come back. Afterwards, Schalke’s draw is a good result for us. But you know, at the top level there is no luck. As far as repositioning is concerned there were too many mistakes, and we allowed our opponents to play too much. Benfica are a team who are well organized as far as winning back the ball is concerned. I'm pleased with the youngster Lacazette tonight, who gave us two goals. Despite all attention, we cannot continue like this, the matches are won with the mind. To go to war, you have to go with everyone.
We conceded a lot of goals. We were unable to close Benfica down high up the field. We wanted to come back, and we did what we could. Tonight, we are disappointed with the result because we messed up this game.